Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Thursday railed at an extension of a $600-a-week unemployment bump in the coronavirus relief package, saying it would pass only “over our dead bodies.”
The senior senator said the unemployment pay hike gave some out-of-work Americans more than they were paid on the job.
Graham, along with fellow South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, also a Republican, leveled the criticism at Gov. Henry McMaster’s meeting of the Accelerate SC coronavirus task force Wednesday, the State reported.
“I promise you over our dead bodies will this get reauthorized,” Graham said of his and Scott’s opposition, Business Insider reported. “We’ve got to stop this. You cannot turn on the economy until you get this aberration of the law fixed.”
The coronavirus relief package passed by Congress in late March provided emergency benefits to Americans who had lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak. The law includes funds that grant people $600 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits until July 25.
Separately, the law also bolsters unemployment funds issued by individual states and makes more people eligible for the benefits.
“The goal is to help people who are unemployed, to make sure that if they get unemployed, they’ll have their income intact, but it was never our goal to pay people more to be out of work than at work,” Graham added.
“If a person is making $23 an hour on unemployment, it’s going to be hard to get you go back to work for $17 hour job.”
“If your job is available to you, please go back. The economy needs you back,” Graham said.
Graham said he and Scott would oppose any extension of the additional unemployment benefits in upcoming legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already signaled his opposition to fully reauthorizing the original relief bill, according to Mediaite, which also posted a clip of Graham’s remarks.